Saturday, 10 October 2015

St. John's IceCaps season preview

Really like the preview to the IceCaps season links that were provided last thread.  I'll re-post them for convenience.

The St. John's IceCaps do a good job of covering their activities, and so does the local newspaper, the Telegraph.  The team website has a good season preview, as well as the team roster as of now.

Really crowded roster, 17 forwards, 10 defencemen, 3 goalies, have to think some of these guys get sent down to Brampton soon, although I'm not sure what the usual timelines are for that for AHL-ECHL training camps.

I suspect Marc Bergevin is pleased to have Mark Barberio down on the farm, providing the veteran presence and left shot on the blue line that will be missed now that Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu won't be patrolling the ice there anymore.  Only two more lefties, Mac Bennet, who had a so-so first season in the pros, and Joel Hanley, who's got a season plus in the pros (AHL-ECHL), so Mark will be asked to do some heavy lifting I would guess.

On the right side, a bit of a logjam, and some of these youngsters need to play, so either a trade is coming or some of these youngsters go down to Brampton for more icetime.  I can't imagine they want Brett Lernout to spend too much time on the bench, but who sits with Darren Dietz, Morgan Ellis and Dalton Thrower more senior to him, and youngster Ryan Johnston jockeying for position?  There's also Josiah Didier, who got signed to an AHL contract and must be primed for some games in Brampton, but is still an intriguing specimen as a player, just a huge kid who may have more success in the pros than college.

Same at forward, lots of rookies who we've been sitting on for years who finally get to the pros.  Guys like Mark McMillan, Tim Bozon, tryout signee Markus Einsterhossenfeffer, will some of them be sent down to Brampton to get more icetime, more Top 6 time than they'd otherwise get if they stayed in St. John?

Exciting stuff, and we finally get to see Mike McCarron and Nikita Scherbak in the pros, see what they're made of.  Second season of Charles Hudon, third of Sven Andrighetto, fourth of Christian Thomas, who has now twice sailed through waivers, and must be thinking he's under the gun, that this could be a make-or-break season, that lands him in the NHL or condemns him to an AHL career.

Is Connor Crisp going to shake his bad injury luck and show a little more promise?  Bud Holloway had an unconventional career path, but he's now an Alternate Captain and veteran teammate, does he perform so well that he's at the head of the line when callups start?

Who goalers the goal, the young drafted goaltender, the veteran and local favourite goalkeeper, or the chastened young goalie who goes back to the salt mines after a one-year reprieve, and a trip through waivers with no takers?  Who goes down to Brampton, is it based on merit again, or does it come down to strategery, the brass taking le jeune dauphin through a guided journey of discovery as #1 in the ECHL, then #1 in the AHL next season?

This is another young team, not stacked with vets, but it does have talent, should have more cohesion, since a lot of these guys have known each other for a while, played with each other, been at prospect camp, etc.  There shouldn't be the reliance on the old excuse that the Canadiens are more interested in development than AHL wins, that only goes so far.  You learn how to win by winning, learn how to compete by being competitive.

Looks like we'll have an entertaining season watching these boys, with better coverage and better TV watching than in Hamilton.  The future looks bright!  I'm modestly optimistic.

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